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Seattle researchers are developing a pacemaker that could revolutionize healthcare significantly

Seattle researchers are aiming to create rechargeable pacemakers to prevent patients from going through repeated surgeries.

Seattle researchers are developing a pacemaker that could revolutionize healthcare significantly
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Los Muertos Crew

The medical community is constantly making advancements for a better tomorrow. Their objective is to give people a better shot in fighting their ailments. The recent one joining the bandwagon is a pacemaker that is rechargeable through heartbeat, reports Good News Network. Though still in its initial stages, researchers believe that this innovation will have a huge impact on patients suffering from heart ailments requiring pacemakers. It could save them from undergoing repeated heart surgeries. The whole project is taking place in Seattle, with the researchers aiming to collaborate with leading manufacturers after the device fulfills all the requirements and regulations.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Antoni Shkraba
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Antoni Shkraba

The pacemaker developed by the researchers takes its energy from the heartbeat generated inside the body to recharge its batteries. The catch is that the recharge is only partial. The whole process just generates 10% of the energy needed by the pacemaker to continue. The researchers are now looking to improve this performance, as they believe such an innovation is the need of the hour to reduce repeated heart surgeries. 



 

Verywell Health explained in detail why people usually go for replacement rather than recharging when it comes to pacemakers. Certain pacemaker models used rechargeable batteries in the past, but they eventually got wiped out of the market. The reason was that such batteries needed to be recharged for hours and had a short service life. They went out in two years while the conventional model goes on for an average of 5 years. At present, patients are implanted with pacemakers running on batteries. Doctors continuously monitor these batteries to analyze their condition and when they believe it is running out, suggest a procedure to patients.



 

Not following a proper recharging schedule with previous rechargeable machines resulted in dangerous consequences for individuals. The pacemaker developed in Seattle therefore used heartbeats. There is no need for people to remember to recharge their batteries as it would be done by heartbeats. It will be placed in the right ventricle of a patient's heart. Dr. Babak Nazer of the University of Washington in Seattle, who led the paper demonstrating his team’s new invention, said of his team's objectives: “We hope to prolong battery life further and expand access to this product to younger patients, who would hopefully require fewer implants over their lifetime.”

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Tara Winstead
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Tara Winstead

Dr. Nazer further explained, "When we can improve upon our 10% harvesting efficiency, we hope to partner with one of the major pacemaker companies to incorporate our design and housing into an existing leadless pacemaker.” The machine takes in mechanical energy and converts it into electrical energy. The technology used in these is similar to the one used in experimental electricity-generating roads.



 

Dr. Nazer and his team's next step is to create materials that have the ability to convert the heart’s natural oscillating pressures ‘backward’ into voltage. They believe this will prolong battery life and jump it up from their present scope of 10%. Younger patients will benefit the most from this innovation as they won't require going through multiple surgeries throughout their lives for pacemakers. Before releasing the product into the market, the team will go through long-term trials with real humans. They will monitor the recharge rate of the battery in the trials. They hope to steadily increase to 20 or 30% which they believe will increase the functional life of these pacemakers significantly.